Visit Road Atlanta – Atlanta’s Other Racetrack!


When you think of auto racing in the Atlanta area, the usual place that comes to mind is Atlanta Motor Speedway, formerly known as Atlanta International Raceway, in Hampton, GA. It’s been home to some of NASCAR’s most famous races. But there’s another track, originally designed for sports car racing. And it’s definitely alive and well!

One of the most exciting places around Atlanta this time of year is Road Atlanta, near Braselton. Located just 35 miles northeast of Atlanta, up I-85 to Highway 53, it’s about ten minutes away from Chateau Elan, a winery and 4-star resort offering luxurious accommodations including an inn, conference center, golf courses, restaurants, a European-style health spa, and other amenities. A number of chain hotels and motels are also located in the area.

Delta Wing by Chris Pruitt

Beginning in 1970, when the first Road Atlanta race was run, and continuing through a number of ownership changes through the years, the 750-acre facility owes its most recent revitalization to Dr. Don Panoz, who incidentally is the founder of Chateau Elan.

After his son Danny started building high performance hand-built sports cars, Dr. Panoz purchased Road Atlanta in 1996.

In 2012, NASCAR bought Panoz Motorsports Group, which included the racetracks at Road Atlanta, Sebring, and Mosport. Dr. Panoz continues to be involved in the design and creation of racing cars and other related products.

While Dr. Panoz owned Road Atlanta, millions of dollars were spent to upgrade and expand the facilities. There’s now a 100-foot infield tunnel, new paddock and pit areas, new restrooms and showers, and a 10,000-seat Terrace Seating complex.

by Chris Pruitt via WikiMedia Commons

From the beginning, kids 12 and under have always been free. But the facilities in the ‘70s were much more of a rough-and-tumble camping experience where tents and canopies dotted the hillsides. As you might imagine, restrictions are much more evident these days.

Infield tent and RV camping is still permitted during certain races. But there are a multitude of regulations regarding motorized vehicles (certain sizes allowed with a purchased sticker, underage drivers prohibited, helmets required) and even DRONES – they’re prohibited. But you can still pitch your canopy as long as it doesn’t restrict anyone’s view, and it’s in a designated area.

by Spyder Monkey via wikimedia commons

An “Ultimate Fan Membership” is available now, giving fans access to all 2015 spectator events including paddock areas. You can purchase other add-ons like parking, camping, and ATV stickers for an additional charge.

The spring season kicks off on March 13-15 when the National Auto Sports Association hosts the Race for The PI (3.14.15, get it?). There are events including the Friday Fun Race, Thunder and Lightning Sprint races, Camaro-Mustang Challenge, German Touring Series, and many others.

Then on March 20-22,  the SCCA National offers a wide variety of vehicles in multiple races, giving you the opportunity to get closer to drivers and crews, and see races with everything from formula cars to compact pickups! Tickets for this event are only available at the gate.

by Steve from Austin, via wikimedia commons

On April 17-19, MotoAmerica bring you the Superbike Challenge of Atlanta, returning the AMA Superbike series to Road Atlanta for the first time since 2012. Fans will again enjoy professional motorcycle racing featuring competitors from all over the world.

And on April 24-26, vintage racing returns in the Classic Motorsports Mitty Presented by Hagerty. If you’ve ever loved sports car racing, this is the one event you shouldn’t miss. It’s history itself roaring around the track. Great fun!

Drift Atlanta returns May 8-9, offering an opportunity for fans to enjoy this competition pitting drivers against each other as they control their cars while they slide sideways through the marked course. Wildly popular in Asia, it’s a high-powered, high-skill, single-elimination matchup that has become one of Road Atlanta’s most exciting events.

by Chris Pruitt via WikiMedia Commons

NASA returns June 5-7 with the June Jam. It’s another weekend of fast and furious racing from a large variety of race cars and street vehicles. Also Teenage Driving Survival School and High Performance Driver’s Education are available.

Motorcycle racing enthusiasts will enjoy the WERA Cycle Jam June 19-21. This event features vintage racing, sportsman sprints and national challenge sprints. Tickets are available at the gate.

These are just the first few events for this racing season. So be sure to check out the schedule and mark your calendar for the perfect time to visit Road Atlanta! Whether you go for a day or a weekend, it’s a great place to get outside and enjoy your friends and family!

Next: The Daytona 500 - The Great American Race

More from TripSided